Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

The Seattle Space Needle is probably one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Created in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, it’s 520 foot high observation deck is enjoyed by people from around the world.

Being a “sister city” to many of Japan’s cities, it has that international flavor permeating every corner.

With some 5,850 tons of concrete and steel making up it’s foundation, it has been considered to be superbly designed and built.

Top heavy?  Not this baby!

It’s center of gravity is a mere 5 feet above ground!  With a lower center of gravity, it does not need to worry about “toppling over” onto itself.  🙂

The Observation Deck

Observation Deck with safety rails

Observation Deck with safety rails

Initially, the observation deck was open when you arrived.  Today,  mainly because of safety reasons and to discourage any future parachute jumps, it now has high fenced areas around the deck.

B.A.S.E. jumpers from the Needle

B.A.S.E.  jumpers from the Needle

But don’t worry, you can still see the entire city of Seattle quite well.  Even picking out places of interest where you’ll want to go next.

The Ferries that scurry around the Sound and through the San Juan Islands can be seen from the Needle.  On the other side of Capitol Hill (a.k.a. Hospital Hill…also where Bruce Lee is buried)  you can see the Mercer Island floating bridge that will connect you to the East Side (a.k.a. Bellevue) of Seattle.

Don’t forget the Pike Place Market along with many other sights and restaurants that dot the Seattle waterfront  in and around the Seattle Aquarium.

The Eye of the Needle

Located at it’s top is the SkyCity Restaurant originally nicknamed “The Eye of the Needle” is known for it’s fine cuisine.   With a nearly 95 foot diameter eating area, there is plenty of “elbow room” for you and your party.

When you choose your reservations, be sure and request a window seat.  Why  so?  Because only the outer 14 foot ring of the restaurant revolves.  It takes about one full hour to make the 360 degree circle, allowing you to enjoy the sights of Seattle.

In it’s early days, the Seattle Space Needle was the second revolving type restaurant in the world.  Second only to the Ala Moana shopping mall located in Hawaii.

Today, because of it’s popularity, there are now hundreds of revolving restaurants.

Borrowing from the ideas of old style Round Houses for the railroad, this “simple” mechanism has been used countless times for rotating platforms.

Updating The Needle

With the Needle being so popular, it’s operators quickly realized there needed to be more restaurant space along with a souvenir gift shop.

Though the Seattle Space Needle when built was a “measly” $4.5 million, it received a revitalization  in the 2000’s upwards of some $20 million.

Here is when the construction of the Pavilion Level, the SpaceBase outlet retail store, the SkyCity restaurant and Deck were overhauled and given that much needed  facelift.

The Needle and it's lower restaurant

The Needle and it’s lower restaurant

Even it’s paint was updated and freshened along with the installation of the Legacy Light and more exterior lighting.

It’s Early Days

When the Space Needle was conceived, it’s original purpose was for the Seattle World’s Fair…only.  When the fair was over, the Needle was slotted to be torn down.  🙁

However, because of the outcry of Seattle residents, the Needle still stands today. 🙂

It was so popular that at one time, the small city of Fife, Washington, offered the sum of $1 million to have the Needle moved to their downtown area.

Clearly Fife recognized the Needles effects of city growth!

Practical Jokes At The Needle

When H.G. Wells broadcast his now infamous “War of the Worlds” radio program on Sunday, Oct. 30, 1938, many thought that there had been a real invasion from Mars.

Having that in mind, a few radio pranksters chose to capitalize on that mentality.   H.G. Wells broadcast had coincided with the 1938 observance of Halloween.

As an April Fool’s joke, a local TV station broadcast a report that the Space Needle had fallen over and rescuers were needed to volunteer to search for victims and survivors.

(See the results of the Needle’s collapse by clicking on the CHEESE committe)

Then there was the CHEESE committe for the Needle and the aliens from space.  Everyone got a real kick out of that one.  🙂

The Needle’s Use

The celebration of New Year Eve parties has grown since its inception in 1982.   It has also seen the welcoming of the Olympic Torch Relay as it went through the city of Seattle.

Sports team welcome messages have been seen for many years, decorating the Needle.

Even a Miss USA Pageant, Miss Washington, Stina McLynne,  wore her Needle hat during the costume portion of the pageant.

Come For A Visit To The Needle

Why not find out more about this multicultural city located in Washington?  Become familiar with Seattle and it’s entrepreneur’s that populate the city.  You’ll be glad that you did.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

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